Dried Lima Bean Skins?
So... yesterday I was all ready to make some baked favas with pancetta, leeks, olive oil and white wine and I realized I didn't have any more frozen favas from my garden. Instead I soaked a new bag of large limas overnight, and I've spent the last 15 minutes flaking off all of the skins that were hanging off. Yuck. Now I know why they registered a whopping 12 grams of fiber per serving :)
Do my fellow 'hounds normally peel t he skins off of their limas?
I cook lima beans often and never remove the skins. If soaked overnight and cooked gently, not many of them split. That's good for the soup made with lamb shank, but when I am subbing limas for spuds in mock potato salad, I want half of the beans to split. I cook them longer, then mash a little with a fork, so the texture in the finished dish is like potato salad made with skin-on baby red spuds. As far as I am concerned, the fiber in the skins is good for you, and like beans in general, if you eat them regularly, the GI consequences decrease over time.
You miss the point of the "behaved like a cow" comment. The problem wasn't that the beans were gassy, although they certainly were. The problem was that the amount of fiber was simply too great to be comfortable, and like hay, it seems to be somewhat silicaceous. In other words,
GRASSY, GLASSY, and GASSY
Very uncomfortable. It was much easier to eat beans in smaller quantities without all that fiber. I don't have four stomachs, and I DON'T like chewing the cud!
This is the first time this happened to me. I took them out of the water after about 2 hrs. They're in a colander and I don't know whether to toss them or go ahead and throw them in a crock pot. They look so odd. I bought them at Winco, out of one of those big serve yourself barrels. They looked fine dry, but pretty sad now...
I tried an experiment once. (That should warn you!) I took a pound of big dried lima beans and soaked them overnight and cooked them. Good, but incredibly fibrous. It was like I had eaten bean-flavored hay, and I felt like a grass-fed cow afterwards. (And I behaved like one)
Then I took another pound of big lima beans and after overnight soaking, slipped the skins off. It's not too hard to do because the beans are big and the skins are really, really thick.
After eight hours in a crock pot the second pot had become a complete puree, like when you make split pea soup out of dried split peas, and was much more pleasant to eat than the first unskinned beans were.
The bean puree was still quite fibrous but not uncomfortably so, and not nearly as gassy.
I'm guessing here, but I suspect that the original developers of the big lima bean, American Indians, also used to slip the skins off first. That would certainly be in line with how they treated dried corn, which was to soak it in a weak lye solution until the kernels expanded and the germs turned black and then they would slip the skins off of corn kernels to make hominy.
A lot of inland Indian recipes called for skinned hominy, beans (and now that I think of it, probably also skinned) and the addition of acorns and wood ash. This makes more sense than you might suppose, as the combination of lye (NaOH) and tannic acid in the acorns would make a sodium salt.
I would love to hear what chowsers have to say about the skins of large dried limas and favas.
I have read that if the bean is bigger than your thumb nail, the skin may be tougher and you may want to remove it. It's easy to do with fresh beans.
This weekend I made Mario Batali's fava bean puree and used very large dried fava beans which I had soaked overnight. It was clear that the skins needed to be removed but I removed them only after I cooked them. (it was an easy process, if somewhat time consuming--certainly easier than removing the skins post soaking pre cooking--but because i cooked them in their skins the beans didn't break down into the cooking water as they were supposed to).
So, if I could add to your question, ZenFoodist: at what point in the soaking cooking process do you chowsers remove your skins if you remove them?
The only recipe I make regularly using dried limas is ham and lima bean soup. I generally don't care if the skins are there - more texture. I'll puree some of the beans to make the soup thicker, and I wouldn't notice the skins.
I can see where that might be objectionable in some other dish.